Cilantro & Coriander

Have you been trying to grow cilantro (aka coriander) and haven’t been successful?  Maybe you’ve tried growing it in the warmer months and it bolted, going to seed almost overnight? But don’t think you are a lousy gardener, we don’t!  All plants have their season and Coriandrum sativum thrives in our cooler weather.  So now is the time to plant this annual herb - which I personally can’t get enough of.

Give cilantro plenty of sun, compost, regular water and a monthly dose of fish emulsion and you will be successful.  You can start using it immediately after planting if the transplants are sizeable and you know they haven’t been sprayed with anything toxic. (Our plants come from certified organic local growers, so you know they’re safe).

Any annual plant will eventually flower and produce seed, as this herb will do when the weather changes. It is wise to space your plantings over the next couple of months to ensure a continuous supply till next May, when it definitely starts to get hot.  When cilantro does insist on blooming, let it go to seed.  It is a sweet delicate white bloom that will form first green seeds, becoming brown. These seeds are known as coriander, with a totally different flavor than the fresh foliage of cilantro. Collect the seed on a dry day after it has turned brown and store it in a dry container. You’ll have coriander for tea, Middle Eastern dishes and baking.

Here is my favorite pesto recipe using fresh cilantro:

3 cups fresh cilantro      
¼ - ½ C olive oil more or less
1-cup fresh parsley     
handful of cashews
2 cloves garlic              
¼ C Parmesan or asiago cheese

In food processor, chop garlic, add the nuts, pack in the herbs, and pour in olive oil gradually while processing. When a paste has formed, add the cheese. Serve and enjoy!